October 30, 2008

pink october almost over

I almost missed mentioning that October is breast cancer awareness month. My father lost his mother to breast cancer 39 years ago, so it was always in the back of my mind that I should be tested early, having lost a close relative to the disease. Don't let them fool you with that 1st degree relative stuff. That only includes sister, mother, aunt. Advocate for yourself at 35 if you have any family history of breast cancer. I made my case this past May and won myself a baseline mammogram five years earlier than recommendations suggest. It was quick and painless.

October 27, 2008

a shout out

my husband apparently decided to actually read my blog today. i know this because when we arrived home together this evening he was quoting parts of my post about our daughter's political views hoping to get a reaction from me. of course, he wanted to know why he doesn't get more mention. my answer: "it's not all about you dan". I will give credit where it is due, however, please note this is difficult for me. HE is the one who has been giving shadow his meds twice per day because I cannot stuff those pills down his throat to save my life. HE is the one who does most of the laundry in our house. HE is the one who listens to my work stories each night and that is something I should be eternally grateful for. Ok, that is enough praise. Now, I will gage how often he checks my blog by the number of days it takes until I hear feedback from him about this post. Is it time for hunting camp yet??????

I should also mention my father in law....as I believe he is my number one fan. When I dont get to post for a few days, I picture him sitting on the edge of his chair waiting. Seriously though, this is going to be a great tool for him to keep up on our happenings while he is safely tucked away in Florida this winter! Thanks for your support Bob....

October 26, 2008

second annual halloween party

the games:

  • eat the suspended donut without using hands
  • a variation of musical chairs where no one has to sit out but you still win a prize
  • cotton ball race

the food:

  • smokin mac and cheese
  • apple crisp
  • taco salad

  • mummy wrapped hot dogs
  • ham and broccoli braided bread
  • punch
  • witch hat cookies

eight kids from 1-13 years old got all sugared up and enjoyed the pre-halloween celebration. we of course enjoyed the opportunity to have some good food and company. funny how the ghostbuster theme causes people in their 30's to reminisce.

fall fun

I had to include this photo I jacked from my sister's site in today's posts...

Reagan Democrat

Just a quick "out of the mouth of babes" type of story:

My daughter, Reagan, and I were on our way grocery shopping. As we passed the barage of political signs on the way she asked if I was voting for Gillibrand or Sandy Treadwell. Not having given much thought to it, I said probably Gillibrand. She said, "yeah, i dont like Sandy Treadwell". She's nine! Then she goes on to say that she wants Gillibrand, Obama and Sarah Palin. Realizing she is unaware about the pairing of running mates I explain. She is now unhappy with the realization that her two favorites are impossible. To this, I explain that she is probably the only person who could be considered to be in a Win/Win situation on November 4th. The fact that she is supporting Sarah Palin only points up that the spirited, demonstrative, spit fire of a daughter I am raising will probably be able to add feminist to her bio in a few years! As my grandfather said: I hope she never loses her spark.

October 23, 2008

Hanging with Heilman part two

My father and I attended our first ADK chapter dinner Friday night at the Queensbury Hotel. We had no idea what to expect but were excited that Carl Heilman was presenting his new multi-media program "I am the Adirondacks". We arrived for the cocktail hour and it was quickly evident that not much mingling was going to take place. I especially noted that there were about 3 other people in attendance who were under the age of 55. I finally approached a woman who looked familiar and she said she lives in the town of day and is on the Hadley Mountain Fire Tower committee. We talked for a while and she invited us to sit at her table. She also made her plug for volunteers for the committee, which I may actually consider. At this point I was introduced to her three hiking partners and the discussion of how they hiked the 46 began. We exchanged a few stories and they were impressed that we were already on number 19. They are about 30 something into their second round! They recommended Hopkins Mountain for snowshoeing as they said they, like us, leave the peaks alone in the winter. One of the husbands joked that when his wife was first doing the 46 he had to "watch out" if there was a weekend that she was not able to hike for some reason. Hmm...sounds familiar. Dinner was your average banquet type meal, but pretty good. The new ADK board was voted in and some other housekeeping stuff was conducted. The director of all ADK spoke about where the revenue has been used and which trails have been upgraded as a result of member contributions and fund raising. He made mention of a clean air act that ADK "won" but is now being appealed by the "Bush Administration"(I think many ADKers are democrats). Finally, Carl Heilman was introduced and he began his program talking about the transformation that takes place in a person when they begin to hike anywhere in adirondack park. He spoke of the spiritual experience of being in the mountains and that often we begin to "think like a mountain" when we're out there. He is a soft spoken, humble man, appearing completely grateful to be happily doing his life's work sharing the beauty of the park with his photography. Seeing his work on a movie screen coupled with music and lyrics composed expressly for each and every picture was breathtaking. The event was a great way to cap off my first hiking season but without Carl on the roster, I probably will leave the annual meeting alone for a while.

October 22, 2008

shadow's recovery

Shadow's surgery was a success. I cannot say enough good about the hospital and staff of Veterinary Specialties. We dropped him off Monday morning and were instructed that they would call just as they were beginning the surgery. They cannot give an exact appointment time but just as they said, they called at 12:50pm monday to say that he was under anesthesia and being prepped (read shaved). At about 2:20pm they called again to say that he was in recovery and doing well. They instructed us to call a little later for an update. Which we did and found that he was very groggy but ok. On Tuesday morning at 9:30 we called for a discharge time and found that they were not happy with his lack of motivation to get up on his own. Apparently shadow was relishing in the attention of having nurses help him. So, they told us that they wanted him to stay another night. At this idea, the guilt started setting in on me and all I could think was that this poor animal was going to think that we brought him to a place, allowed them to inflict a huge amount of pain on him and that we were never coming back. I called the vet again and asked if they were sure he could not come home that night and the nurse told me that right after she talked to us the last time, they brought his leash in and when he saw it he got up and acted much perkier, therefore, the doctor agreed that he could be discharged that night. This was good news. The other good news is that he now has full range of motion in his leg again. He limps on it but is able to get up and down. The doctor encouraged 10-15 minute slow walks to keep the muscle from getting weak and in 3 weeks he should be walking normally. As you can see he is shaved and his skin looks irritated. They said he has allergies (which we kinda figured all along) and prescribed him an antibiotic for a staph infection from the irritations. In the spring he will require bloodwork and probably allergy shots. While we are in "let's really baby our dog" mode, we stopped and bought him a new bed. It is extremely plush and he was hesitant to put the weight on his bad leg to get on it and preferred to lay in his regular spot by the coach with reagan at his side. Tramedol (an opiate) must be good stuff, because it knocks him right out. He started scratching his shaved skin with his back leg, so the doctor suggested putting a t-shirt on him to buffer it a bit. He has been such a good boy...we bought him special snacks to chase the medicine.
What is wrong with this picture?
This is what happens while I'm blogging. Greg goes to the dogs. Hopefully, he doesn't aquire a taste for "bacon and cheese madness".

October 19, 2008

The Would Restaurant

In August my husband's cousins came to town for his mother's funeral services. They had a whirlwind session of catching up on each other's lives and careers, but decided they wanted to make the extra effort to see one another more regularly. Dan's cousin, Claire, operates The Would Restaurant in Highland, New York and told us to come down anytime for dinner. Claire is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York and her restaurant is 8 miles from there over the Mid-Hudson Bridge in the New Paltz/Highland area. The crazy thing is that I went to Marist College for four years and never once did we venture over to her restaurant. After Saturday's dinner, I am really kicking myself for that. Claire is also a food stylist and works on the set of several product infomercials. Some well known, such as the Jack Lalane Juicer and currently the spot Montel Williams is doing called Living Well with Montel. I find it interesting to hear about her work in the advertising arena. We took off for the two hour drive south with Dan's brother and his girlfriend 20 minutes after I suggested the idea. We weren't even aware that his cousin from Virginia was also there for the weekend. So it was a two for one visit and the food was out of this world. Claire's assistant chef is also a CIA graduate. I had tilapia with peach and jalapeno compote and Dan had steak with bleu cheese butter. We both had a house salad with their own orange and cranberry vinaigrette. For an appetizer, I had shrimp and vegetable spring rolls. Also being passed around the table was calamari and a mozzarella appetizer. We enjoyed organic Ladybug wine and a "S'more's Bomb" for dessert. I could go on and on about the food (it rivals bistro tallulah). Happily, the dinner was accented by good company and lively conversation. Thanks to Andy and Lorraine for driving us the 4 hour round trip....here's to spontaneity! Next time we're hitting Times Square after dinner.....

October 14, 2008

apple picking = good chow

As you might imagine, there is not a whole lot of extravagant, gourmet cooking going on in my house. Working 9-5, running around to sporting events and the insertion of full hiking days all to myself in an already crazy week results in dinner usually being nothing more than pizza, pasta or whatever meat can be thrown in the oven (plain) and land on a plate with some microwaved peas or broccoli. But, every so often the mood strikes me and one fun activity that prompts the old domestic engineer to re-appear is apple picking. Reagan and I went to Saratoga Apple with some friends on Monday and immediately planned to bake a big batch of apple crisp when we got home.
I had to stop at the grocery store to pick up some of the ingredients. I use the Betty Crocker recipe. My daughter impressed me by asking if we had the nutmeg at home. This led me to think about my worn out recipe page as I considered how neat it was that she knew one of the less obvious ingredients. Going off on a weird thought pattern, my tattered recipe page made me think of the user account I signed up for on the Chow website when a friend of mine posted his macaroni and cheese recipe. When you sign up for a user name in order to comment on someone's recipe, the people at Chow want to know what is your most tattered cookbook. I wrote "Betty Crocker, the apple crisp page". Hmm....mac and cheese? I decided to make that too since I would already be spending the evening in the kitchen making a mess! I can't tell you how happy my husband was to get home from hunting and find both of these dishes waiting for him. He told me I ought to cook like this more often because I'm good at it....is that a compliment?

surgery it is

We took Shadow to Veterinary Specialties today in Rotterdam NY for his consultation. Dr. Bowersox was "excited" (his word) that shadow actually has an Infraspinatus Contracture. Apparently this guy comes from Minnesota where they see this injury in the many hunting/working dogs out there all the time. He said he used to perform the corrective surgery 4-5 times per week, but since coming to NY 5 years ago he has not seen an animal with the problem at all. He told us we were "lucky". I thought this doctor was strangely happy that he was going to get to perform this surgery. Maybe he misses Minnesota and this somehow makes him feel at home. I would consider myself to be lucky if this guy offered to do the surgery Pro Bono. The low estimate for next Monday's procedure- $1,400. Fortunately, he said Shadow will be running around the yard in a day or so and his gait will be fixed immediately. He also said Shadow could resume hiking 3 weeks later. Ummmm...No way. Maybe next season. For now he is on the DL for the rest of the year. I need to remind myself how grateful I was last week that there was a surgery that would fix him and that he wasn't terminally ill. I could try to think up one of those mastercard commercials....the last line would be- a vet who loves his job and is excited about performing a surgery that will make your dog as good as new....Priceless.

There, I think I feel better.

October 12, 2008

pilot knob ridge ~ above lake george

I was itching to get out for a quick hike this morning but it didnt appear that it was going to happen as my son had a baseball game scheduled for 3:00pm. However, apparently other families were taking advantage of the three day weekend and there werent enough kids to field the team. Super! At 1:00pm it was clear that a close to home hike was in store. I called my sister and told her that pilot knob ridge would be considered more of a "nature walk" than an actual hike if she would like to go. She agreed without much hesitation, although a little weary that she would once again have to carry the baby on her back.
We signed in at the register on pilot knob road just after Dunham's Bay which is 5 miles from route 9 before lake george village. There is a small parking area. The round trip via the orange trail is 1.3 miles. The first three quarters is pretty steep but not very rocky. It took about an hour to get to the top of the ridge (which is the summit), even with a three year old in tow. It was great to hear her talking of hiking as if she has been doing it for a long time. Her foot came out of her shoe and she said "it always does that everytime i hike". I chuckled to myself thinking that my attempt at getting the little guys into hiking just might be working. There is a gazebo at the top which has kind of seen better days, but it makes for a nice spot to sit and look at the lake. There were lots of boats out there today, probably filled with others like us, trying to soak up whatever warmth, sunshine and fresh air we could as if we could somehow store it up to last through the winter. I make note as we hike that this will be a great trail to snowshoe and with that I relax a little knowing that cold weather and snow no longer means for me that I will be stuck inside. We took pictures of the kids and ate our snacks. There were at least 10 people that we saw coming and going at the gazebo. The kids found milkweeds and had a blast pulling them open and watching the white feathery insides blow in the breeze. None of us wanted to, but eventually we pulled ourselves away from this August like day and headed in the direction that we thought might bring us to the waterfall. We missed the blue trail as my sister's three year old tumbled down the old black top driveway that is the trail for a little way. The driveway is all that hints that there was once a house on this ridge. It was taken over by the authorities after the land had been cleared and built on illegally and was eventually sold to the Lake George Land Conservancy. We'll do the falls another day since the kids were getting tired. We signed out at the register at 5pm and planned for pizza on the way home. There arent many lake george hikes left for me...except, I still want to get to sleeping beauty.

fall water

out and about making the most of this last round of warm weather, i couldnt believe how beautiful the town park was today......

October 10, 2008

mt. jo and heart lake

It's easy to get caught up in climbing only the mountains that are going to earn me my 46er patch and miss the other good stuff that also lies within the the park. Mt. Jo is situated right behind Heart Lake and the Adirondack Loj. It is described as a good starter mountain for kids, but also should be considered for the fact that the views of the surrounding high peaks are breathtaking. For a little over an hour long hike, you can show friends/family a little glimpse of why climbing the 46 has a firm grasp on you. The trail starts out nice and soft and shortly turns into the typical rock filled adirondack trail. The short trail is pretty vertical and then near the summit the bare rock scrambling that is often required on the big mountains is experienced. From the summit of Mt. Jo you can clearly see Wright and Algonquin rising above heart lake. To the left is Colden and Marcy. Cascade is all the way to the left and Wallface cliffs are all the way to the right in this awesome panarama. Through the trees we were able to catch a glimpse of Whiteface, which is normally hiding in the clouds and fog. This was an absolutely clear, blue sky, warm and wonderful October day in nature. This time not only did I have my father, but also my sister, my mother and our cousin. We took plenty of group shots at the top, one of which will remain my most favorite family picture for a long while! Unfortunately, our cousin turned her ankle a bit coming off the summit of Mt. Jo, so she and my mother made their way back to the car while my father, my sister and I took a quick side trip to Rocky Falls on the Indian Pass trail. We have been curious about this trail and this was as good a day as any to check it out. It was a gentle up and down trail for about a mile from the end of the rock garden trail off of mt. jo. The falls were pretty, but not very tall. Nonetheless, it was worth the extra distance. We saw the lean to, which is situated with the open front facing the brook and only about 50 feet from the edge of the water. The designated camping sites were in good shape, roomy and also close to the water source. Again, when one is not concerned about always hiking a mountain, this would be a relaxing place to camp. Perhaps on a trip all the way through from the loj to tahawus, which is on our to do list. Heading out of Lake Placid, we stopped for coffee and continued on home, enjoying the leaves a little to the south of keene, which still appeared to be at peak. I was excited to see that my friends were hiking Dix Mountain as we passed their vehicle parked at the route 73 trailhead. I am glad that none of us missed this awesome day for hiking!

lake placid * fall colors

October 9, 2008


The Pale Blue Dot- Carl Sagan

October 8, 2008

Infraspinatus Contracture

Infraspinatus contracture is a uni- or bilateral fibrotic myopathy of the infraspinatus muscle that is usually secondary to trauma in hunting or working dogs. Clinical signs include an acute lameness, pain, and swelling in the shoulder region. The lameness subsides, but a gait abnormality develops 2-4 wk after injury as muscle fibrosis and contracture progress. Clinical signs include a characteristic adduction of the elbow, abduction of the foreleg, and external rotation of the carpus and paw. The limb is circumducted with each stride of the leg. Palpation of the shoulders reveals outward rotation of the humerus as the elbow is flexed. Treatment consists of resection of the fibrous musculotendinous portion of the muscle, including tenotomy of the tendon of insertion. Limb and joint functions are immediately improved, and prognosis for full recovery is excellent.

In plain english: This is what has happened to my golden retriever after the labor day hike up shelving rock mountain. He was unusually sore the day following the hike but was fine the next week. Then, just like it says above, he developed a weird limp where his front leg kicks out to the side when he walks. Simply put, the vet told me today that he will probably have to have surgery and we have a consult appointment scheduled for next tuesday.

We brought Shadow home in June of 2000 at the age of 8 weeks old. Before that day and even now I describe myself as "not a dog person". It took several years of my husband's pleading before I gave in. My one condition on the adoption of a puppy was that it HAD to be a golden retriever. I had known a golden retriever once and thought he was the greatest dog I had ever met and so if this non-dog person was to ever own a dog, it would have to be a golden. The agreement was made and we found our own golden at a small, private breeder in Hartford NY. We saw the parents who were both on site and we wanted the puppy to choose us. Shadow followed our 5 year old son around the yard and we knew he was the one we would come back for in a few weeks.
Our daughter was only a year old when we brought shadow home and for the next few years I recall feeling that the dog was unfortunately an additional responsibility and stressor in my already busy, caring for children, day. Slowly, I realized however, that Shadow has more than lived up to my expectations as the best dog I could ever ask for.
My daughter hasn't even known life without him and the two are inseparable. She lays down on the floor, snuggles up to him and he automatically puts his arm over her. He loves to go to the firehouse for a bath and since I began hiking, he goes wild when he sees me put on my boots and makes it clear that he does not want to be left behind. I can't believe he is already 8 years old and I often find myself getting caught up wondering how much time we all have left with this guy. When he went to the vet with my husband yesterday and we were waiting to find out what was actually wrong with him, I could barely concentrate at work. I projected my hypochondria onto him and of course assumed the worst (cancer). When we got the diagnosis of this muscle problem and the recommendation for a surgical consultation, I was surprised at my relief and immediate thought that obviously we would do whatever was necessary to restore him to normal. The doctor left having the surgery optional because of his "middle age" but she said it would be necessary if we wanted him to be able to continue hiking with us. At that moment, I couldn't imagine not giving him the chance of recovering. Not because of the hiking part, but because more importantly, he is family.

October 5, 2008

the falls at shelving rock

as many times as i have climbed shelving rock mountain, i had yet to see the waterfall. the trail to it is just off of the parking area and it takes about 15 minutes to get to the base. after you've enjoyed this relaxing site you can make your way out to a picnic area to view lake george, closeup. apparently this is the site of the infamous log bay day. but today you would never know it. we were the only ones there and the lake was quiet.

October 4, 2008

hadley mountain on a whim

hiking with my sister comes at a huge price. she cannot do anything carefree and unplanned. she has 3 kids under age 7. she has been wanting to do a high peak with us but very often those trips are planned without much notice after weather watching hints at a clear day. so, her first hike happened on saturday and with only a moments notice. my mother had been planning the hike with a bunch of her coworkers, including an 80 year old councilman who has been wanting to hike hadley for many years. i could not bare the thought of them doing the mountain without me and so after reagan's soccer practice i sprung it on my sister that she too was going. afterall, it was a nice day...i offered to carry her 27 pound 1 year old on my back. this was a good plan, until the baby started crying for her mother halfway up the mountain. essentially, my sister did her first "real" mountain with a baby on her back and two other kids in tow, which is really wanting to hike! she assured us that the view was definitely worth the strenuous effort. after this i would have to wonder what can't a mother of three do? we already knew that she can do just about anything with one arm.
hopefully the weather will cooperate next friday when i drag her up to the adk loj to do mount jo. no kids.